The dress code is a law unto itself: silky or slinky, floaty or flimsy, sensual or sparkling. Dress lightly because it will be hot. Come as your Fantasy Self.
Set in Brixton, at Mass, the Night of the Senses is an annual celebration of sexual diversity for all genders and persuasions from across the world. Held in a safe, no pressure, respectful and joyful environment, guests are invited to explore their sexuality through the senses, the body, humour, emotion and imagination. Paired with the Erotic Awards, the proceeds of the night go to Outsiders, who work towards finding relationships for people with disabilities.
Once inside, you may need a seat to take in the sensual bonanza unfolding before you. Amongst the catacombs of the ground floor, where you can find a massage space, a café and a chillout zone, a slow build-up of fantasy selves is assembling. Changing out of their civvies, the display of dressed-up fantasy is a dazzling array.
From doctors in white rubber uniform to the Norwegian cowboy in black leather and gym-made chest; from the hooded dominatrix queen with the corseted rubber ballgown to the giggly girl with her chainmail bikini. Or nude. The thong, leather, rubber and military industries appear to be doing a roaring trade.
On arrival, guests are directed towards the annual Erotic Awards that take place in the top floor amphitheatre, where they can applaud a variety of artists who have chipped in to the scene, including Performance Artist of the Year, Sex Worker of the Year.
Unfolding throughout the other levels of the church is the much touted pansexual playground, divided into an assortment of colourful sexual caverns. You can unplug all your secret desires in the Anything Goes Den. You can discover your limits in the Roissy Dungeon.
Couples can enjoy each other in the Sensuality Chamber. Bottom fanatics can grit their teeth happily whilst being thrashed by horsehair whips. You can admire the work of some of the Erotic Awards' entrants in the outside tented gallery and dance to pulsating vibes in the club area. For women tiring of the intense human throng, they can retreat to the Women's Womb. For guys tiring of women, they can retreat to the Boy's Back Room to indulge in their own.
You can nip out of the playground to watch performing acts throughout the night, from gyrating priests (men of the cloth but wearing little cloth) to pole-dancing extraordinaires who can hold themselves upside down with one foot. A harpist will occasionally play in the interludes, tearing at her strings fiercely and offering odd sanctuary in these steamy surroundings.
The only downside of an outfit without pockets is what to do with carrying money. Clip-on pouches seem to be the key accessory here amongst the nude or pocket-less. Having a bag to pack your clothes into for the cloakroom is another important tip, otherwise it is £3 an item.
Back into civilian clothing at 6am closing time, the fantasy self is packed away into the depths of your titillated and newly-enlightened mind.
By Tommy Wong
Night of the Senses, Friday 12 September 2008, 8pm onwards. Tickets must be bought in advance, for more info see www.nightofthesenses.com